The beginning of every academic year brings with it a flurry of activities as students reconnect with old friends and make new ones, start new classes, and get involved in a myriad of activities within their majors and through co-curricular activities. One group of our students, however, is focused on the future and is starting the year by attending an intensive leadership retreat where they focus on the characteristics of leadership development and team building.
The three day off-campus retreat includes educational breakout sessions, external speakers, hands-on activities and networking. I’ve been fortunate to have been invited to speak to this group of dedicated and enthusiastic students every year since my arrival and I enjoy meeting with the more than 200 students there – many of whom will take on leadership roles at the university, in their colleges and departments, and in professional and student organizations. These are our future leaders, and I leave each year impressed by the tremendous talent that exists at UTA and the wonderful way in which our staff assists them in reaching their full potential.
An activity that specifically impressed me this year was related to breaking a board, symbolically signifying a student’s commitment to working though fears and obstacles, and having their group of friends support them unconditionally. We could all learn from these students – dedicated, enthusiastic and optimistic about the future and determined to make a difference as they go forward, not just for themselves but for world. We are in good hands with such wonderful future leaders. I’m proud of them and of all our students – each of whom is breaking new ground and setting a path for excellence, engagement and positive impact.
Please read my remarks from the Fall Leadership Retreat HERE.